Friendly Reminder: This story is completely fictional. However, it is based off of a collaboration of my friends’ experiences along with my own. No character is to be an exact portrayal of a real person.
The messages went something like this:
“Hey how’s your day?” “Not too bad, thinking about you.” “I’m excited for Saturday, where do you want to go?”
It was mid-October and the leaves had fully embraced the season of fall. Out Serena’s bedroom window, one could see rolling hills of red, orange, and yellow leaves.
“Let’s go to a pumpkin patch. We can walk around, get to know each other a little better. What do you think?” “Sounds great, can’t wait”
Serena had met Jason online a few weeks ago and her reasoning for joining the online dating crowd was unknown. Her best friend had recently gone on a date with a guy she met online, only to later retreat to her only place of refuge: her blue bug. She had heard the tales of cat-fishers, men hungry for sex and straight-up creeps but alas, she felt the need for attention.
Jason was the first boy who didn’t seem to be a complete creep. He was quirky, confident, and a great conversationalist. As Serena sat on her black velvet couch, TV screen flickering in front of her, she would think of Jason and within only a few minutes, her phone would light up with another message from him. No way. She thought. There’s no way this guy could be interested in me. How is he able to read my mind? Serena became captivated by Jason and within the next week she was getting into her car to meet Jason at a pumpkin patch about fifteen minutes from her house.
Mud squished under her tires as she pulled into a parking spot. Looking around there was no one that matched the profile she had put together as a result of multiple online searches she had made concerning this mystery boy. Again, as if by telepathy, Serena’s phone let off a ding!
Looking around in hopes of seeing Jason, she met the eyes of a man in a tan hoodie and jeans, standing in front of the small barn that had been transformed by the farm owners into a marketplace for people who were too lazy to pick their own pumpkins. With a thud of the car door behind her, Serena began a short journey to meet him, attempting to avoid the mounds of dirt and grass that had eroded from the ground after the pouring rain from the night before.
“Jason?” she asked with a gracious smile, please let this be the right guy.
“Yeah, hey Serena. How’s it going? I haven’t been to this farm since I was a kid.”
“My family came here every year when my sisters and I were growing up. We always each got our own pumpkins then when and got donuts and apple cider in the barn.” She gestured towards the wooden building Jason was still leaning against. He had an extremely calm and relaxed sense about him. This both intrigued and irritated Serena because she was internally freaking out about whatever was going to happen on this first date and he seemed to have no worries at all.
The two new acquaintances walked near each other looking for the two most perfect pumpkins they could find. Both Jason and Serena, although seeking perfection had very different ideas about what that meant. Jason seemed to want a big, tall pumpkin. However, he didn’t want it to be too heavy, it had to be something that he could easily handle and carry in one hand, to keep the other one open in case he saw a better second choice. Serena was in search of one: round, maybe some bumps or blemishes but with a new long stem so that she could carry it and not break the pumpkin. She didn’t mind if it was heavy, she knew how to carry something that beared a lot of weight and she was prepared to use both hands to hold it and wouldn’t let go.
They continued talking throughout their search for their pumpkins, occasionally tripping over a vine. Jason made Serena laugh so easily. It had been a long time since someone new had made her laugh this hard. The funny thing was, she could barely remember what he had said to make her laugh.
After about an hour of talking, walking, and laughing, Serena had found what she was looking for and so did Jason. The sun was beginning to set so they walked up to the marketplace.
“Should we keep your tradition going with some cider and donuts?” Jason asked.
“Of course, let’s do it.”
With half a dozen donuts in hand, the two more-than-friends headed to Jason car. Sitting in the trunk of his dark blue pickup truck, the conversation continued as they ate. After what seemed like maybe fifteen minutes Serena looked down at her watch. “11:30! How did we lose track of so much time? My roommate has called me twice and I have 10 unread messages!” Jason sat there and smiled at me, unaffected by the worry that filled Serena’s every word. “It’s fine, we can stay here a little longer,” he put his hands on her waist and leaned in to kiss her. Although the mood was set delightfully and Serena felt a connection with Jason, she let out a laugh as his lips almost reached hers. “What are you doing?” She giggled, although it was more than obvious what he was doing. Jason leaned back, keeping his hands on her waist and smiled, “I don’t normally kiss on the first date but I would regret it if I didn’t”. She couldn’t argue with his logic so she controlled her laughter and kissed him back.
As the crisp autumn air blew over the pick-up’s trunk, Serena shivered, “I don’t want to leave but I think we should”. Jason nodded and walked her back over to her Honda Fit that was covered in mud from the dirt road she travelled on to get here. He lightly kissed her forehead and said “we should do this again sometime, maybe somewhere new, but not for another week or so”.
At the time that last comment meant nothing to Serena but after texting him the next day, still smiling, filled with memories of the previous night.
“Yeah I don’t think I want to be in a relationship right now. I joined online dating for a friend or a lover, not a girlfriend. I’m still talking to other girls, even though you are incredible and I have to see you again”.
Other girls. Other girls. Other girls. How I am supposed to compete with other girls. Is he worth really it? Will he still like me even if I don’t live up to his expectations?
Questions swirled through Serena’s head, she was unable to respond fully until another day had past. She spent the next 24 hours pondering her options and goals. The unknown was terrifying and in the moments she was in the arms of Jason she felt safe but now knowing his arms would be holding other girls like herself, she felt helpless and confused. Her mind was full of landmines, no option seemed like a good one.
Serena had always dreamed of being pursued by someone who wanted her and only her – but I guess that would remain a dream. She began to seriously question herself and her decisions to online date. Why didn’t I just listen to Katy? She’s been through this before and it went terribly, why did I expect anything to be different when I made the exact some decisions?
Sitting in her faux-leather, swivelling desk chair, she took a moment to look at her pumpkin again. She thought about the conversations she shared with Jason only two days ago and thought of the pumpkin he had selected. It had been so different from her own, he didn’t even need to use two hands to hold it, why did he think that was the perfect one? She thought to herself. Reaching out to feel the ribbed skin of her pumpkin, it had a few bumps but those bumps gave it character. This one took longer to find but it is beautiful. Maybe I should just keep looking. Pulling her phone from her back pocket she went and did exactly what her friend had done: unlocked her phone, swiped through her pages of apps to find Tinder, held the app down, and clicked delete. She still had his phone number in her contacts but she decided to keep it in case one day Jason would return into her life – but she didn’t count on it.
Serena had nothing against Jason, she just wanted to hold onto her dream of pursuit and vowed to leave the online dating scene for good.